What if your favourite band officially released their oldest batch of songs on album number nine? Would the freshness of their early music become distorted by a reworked vision? Would the momentum they’ve built on the previous eight records come to a crashing halt? If your favorite band is Dr. Dog, I’m not the critic you want to be reading.
Although the first two tracks Golden Hind and Dead Record Player mirror the indie-soul feel of the Easy Beat era, they both fail to hook listeners, especially true Dr. Dog aficionados. The only speck of excitement that occurs throughout this background office/elevator music is when co-frontman Scott McMicken belts out the chorus “I feel like a light feeling you.” The melody with background harmonies holds true to the classic Dr. Dog sound. Dead Record Player is more upbeat with more interesting sounds than the first track. However, it still fails to be memorable because overall the song is flat and doesn’t go anywhere.
Swampadelic Pop takes listeners further into the Psychedelic misery of The Psychedelic Swamp. With high pitched piercings and distorted studio effects my ears and stomach cringe every time I relisten. Track four, Bring My Baby Back, is the only memorable song on this project. In fact, without it, there would be no reason for me to waste time trying to let this psychedelic concept grow on me.
If you were disappointed with your favourite band’s reworked production of an old batch of songs, would you give up on them? Would you stay excited for the next release? On November 20th 2014, the band tweeted “We did it! Here’s our ‘we finished a record’ crew pic to prove it.” I’m crossing my fingers that that tweet does not refer to The Psychedelic Swamp and those songs are the 10th album, which will be released shortly after this abysmal number nine. The Psychedelic Swamp is a very disappointing start to 2016 and continues the streak of a deranged, psychedelic Dr. Dog slump.
Scott J. Herman